Number of Greater Victoria real estate agents nearly matches listings

The number of listings in Greater Victoria’s hot property market has dropped to the point where there is almost one real estate agent for every listing.

At the end of March, there were 1,556 active listings and 1,353 licensed agents, according to the Victoria Real Estate Board. Victoria is in the midst of a sellers’ market where prices are climbing and listings numbers are shrinking. There are plenty of buyers, but not enough homes for sale.

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A decade ago, there were 3,079 listings in March, nearly double what we see today. Real estate agent numbers fluctuate but were close to today’s figure, at 1,310 in 2007.

Other numbers have changed.

Last month, the benchmark price, which tracks the price of a typical home in the area, for a single-family home in the core was $790,100.

A decade ago, it was $542,504.

There were 929 properties sold through the Victoria Real Estate Board last month, a drop of 17.1 per cent from 1,121 sales in the same month last year.

“We are working really hard for the fewer transactions that are out there,” said Real Estate Board president Ara Balabanian. “It is still a very active market. There have been times when it has been far less active than this.”

The low number of listings “implies that there are a lot of realtors who do not have a listing on the go at this time,” he said.

Greater Victoria’s population is growing, increasing the demand for housing as newcomers arrive. Other factors in the performance of the real estate market are a low unemployment rate helping to drive the local economy, the capital region’s tight rental market and low interest rates.

The good thing about today’s market is “that there’s no shortage of people who would like to purchase. … There’s lots of opportunities to work with people. Whether you are going to find something to satisfy their needs — now there’s the challenge,” Balabanian said.

Greater Victoria’s general real estate cycle sees the market stay fairly level for five to seven years, followed by a abrupt increase in price and then it levels off again, Balabanian said.

That increase has been seen in the past couple of years, he said, adding he expects it will level out and return to a more balanced market.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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